Posted by adminNo CommentsAug 11, 2009

The Premier League explained
If you’re just not sure how the football league and premier league work and what it all means, we’ve put this handy guide together for you so at least you can keep up with your man when he chats football!

The season usually starts in the second week of August (this is subject to change by those very important men who wear glasses at Premier League HQ) and is preceded by the season ‘curtain raiser’ (football term) that is the charity shield. This match is played at Wembley and the 2 teams that take part are the previous season winners of the FA cup against the previous season winners of the Premier League. If one club has won both these titles, then the team that are runners up in the premier league play instead – just to make it complicated!

There are 20 clubs in the PL and each club plays 38 matches in a season – therefore, each team plays each other twice, once at ‘home’ (footballing term alert – means at their home ground) and once away (means at their opponents ground). Fixtures are decided some months before the new season but are usually subject to change depending on International football breaks, TV scheduling as well as European football commitments from certain clubs and other boring things like that.

Teams are awarded 3 points for a win, a point for a draw and nothing if they lose. We’re sure you have guessed that the team with the most points wins the league title!

But it’s not all about finishing first; there are other places in the league to play for which teams are rewarded for, just to confuse us a little more. Firstly, the higher a club finishes, the more bonuses they get from the Premier League, which is very nice of them. Secondly, teams are awarded places in European Cup competitions if they finish in the top 6. The top 4 places go into the UEFA Champions League and those teams that finish in 5th and 6th go into the Europa league.

You still with us?

The three clubs that finish bottom of the league with the least points are then relegated to the lower league (in this case The Championship). You can really impress your man here by remembering that all three clubs get what is called a ‘parachute’ payment if they are relegated, to help them adjust to the lower league, where TV money is much less.
See it’s easy isn’t it really?

The Football league
The Football League is made up of The Championship, League 1, League 2 and Conference and works in a similar way to the Premier League (you’ll be pleased to know) in terms of points awarded and relegation.
However, the team that finishes first in each league is promoted to the league above as well as one or two other teams that finish in second or third place. Just to confuse us all, different leagues will have different numbers of teams that gain automatic promotion (footballing term alert – means they get promoted without having to go through the playoffs, more on that later) and also that get relegation.

We thought we’d make it nice and easy and pop these in a table for you;

League Number of teams Automatically promoted Relegated
The Championship 24 2 Teams 3 Teams
League 1 24 2 Teams 4 Teams
League 2 24 3 Teams 2 Teams
Conference 24 1 Team 4 Teams

So what about the playoff thing we mentioned above? Well just to make the leagues more exciting, the lovely chaps at the Football League allow the four teams that finish (once all games have been played) under the automatic promotion places to play against each other in order to gain promotion. Many often talk about ‘the lottery of the playoffs’ and how most teams want to avoid this and instead get automatic promotion – a term that is bound to impress your man!

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